Healthy Veggie Frittata

I have a confession, this was a recipe born out of necessity due to stupidity. I apparently love zucchinis too much and bought more from the store when I did not realize I had a whole bunch at home already! Lesson learned: always take inventory of the fridge before grocery shopping. So what’s a girl to do with a ton of zucchinis?

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Shred the heck outta them and put them in anything I can think of.

I wanted to make a egg bake/ frittata with zucchini and other vegetables in my fridge, but I couldn’t find the “perfect” recipe that uses all the ingredients that I had. So used this recipe as a “base” for the right proportion of eggs, milk, and flour and got creative with the rest.

Whisk together 6 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.

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I had some fun adding tons of random spices! Got the idea from a variety of zucchini egg bake recipes. Of course fresh herbs would have been better.

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I took a buttered 9-in. round baking pan and filled the bottom up with all my favorites from my fridge: mini sweet bell peppers, asparagus cut into 1 in pieces, and shredded deli turkey meat. Look at those colors! Of course this is the fun part where you can add whatever you’d like: onions, peppers, corn, mushrooms, cheese, chicken strips, etc. Ooohhhhh, if only I had some bacon.

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Add about 2 cups of shredded zucchini. I actually wish I added it to the bottom and let the more colorful veggies be on top. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan until it fills up almost to the brim. When you bake it, it will puff up a little but it won’t spill over.

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Ready to go in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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I almost forgot to add the sundried tomatoes before I took the before-picture and I sprinkled some sundried tomatoes from Trader Joe’s on top, it really was the much needed final touch! It not only made the frittata extra flavorful, but really made the dish visually pop.

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Pair with a side of greens and you got yourself a delicious healthy brunch.

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Happy brunching!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes

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I know that I am totally late for a St. Paddy’s day themed cupcake, but come on- it’s got Bailey’s in it, do we need a reason to make (and eat) these boozy treats?! I’m pretty proud of these cupcakes, the cake and the buttercream frosting came out the way I hoped probably because I finally had a real free day to just bake! I admit I have a tendency to bake in the middle of the night and be rushing to finish and go to bed.

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For these delicious Bailey’s Irish Cream cupcakes I followed the Sweet Tooth blog version of it. Her decorations are so cute and festive! I don’t tend to drink to often, but I do remember being pretty fond of Bailey’s in college so thought St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the perfect opportunity to try an alcohol-infused cupcake.

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This is the star the show- using 1/2 cup in the batter (it leaves a light, barely-there hint of Irish Cream. Later in the buttercream, you’ll use 3 tablespoons which gives plenty of strong, smooth flavor of the liquor.

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Alternate adding the dry flour mixture and the Bailey’s into the egg mixture, starting and ending with flour.

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As soon as the mixture looks evenly mixed, fill the cups with the batter and bake for about 16 mins.

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They come out with a lovely light cappuccino color and they smell AMAZING. While they are cooling, get started on the buttercream. For the butter cream (the best part!), cream together 1 cup of room temperature butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar, and 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s. My family don’t like too much sweetness, so I definitely only made one batch of the buttercream for 24 cupcakes and I still had SO much left.

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I realized that after many failed attempts making frosting does not come easily to me and I realize that’s because I’m never well prepared or I’m in a hurry and I under mix or over mix the cream. This time, it came out perfect: thick, rich, smooth and fluffy!

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For a bit of jolly green cheer, I added some green sprinkles I bought from Michaels.

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Because of the Bailey’s in the buttercream, I would not actually give this to children! For those over 21, eat responsibly and don’t just lick off all the frosting! Cheers!

Choco-mint Cookies

It’s been awhile since I made some good ol’ cookies…first time and only time I ever made this was years ago in college and it turned out great, I just don’t know why I never made it again! These cookies are fun to make, easy, and delicious! Anyone a fan of mint and chocolate (like my boyfriend) will love these.

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For Chocolate Mint Cookies I you will need:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • mint wafers –> for some reason I couldn’t find Andes Mints at Safeway so I got Dove milk chocolate mint candies (awesome substitute though less of the minty flavor I think)

Let’s get to it! Start by melting the butter, sugar and water on low heat.

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Add chocolate chips and stir slowly until it’s partially melted. Turn off the heat and keep stirring until the mixture is all melted and smooth. Pour into a heat proof bowl and cool for 10 mins. 2014-01-19 21.04.45

In my trusty stand mixer I beat the in eggs (one at a time) into the chocolate mixture at high speed. Reduce speed to low and start adding in flour, baking soda and salt, beating until blended. Cover with saran wrap and chill dough for about 1 hour.

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Preheat the oven for 350 degrees F.

Start rolling the dough into balls (I used my 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to make perfect equal balls) and placing them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used my Silpmat, if you guys don’t have one- get one it will change your baking life. Bake the cookies for about 8-10 mins.
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I had to resist popping these into my mouth as I unwrapped them! I chopped them in half and it’s definitely enough to cover one cookie.

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The minute the cookies are out of the oven, while they are still piping hot, plop a chocolate mint candy on each cookie and just let it sit for about 3-5 mins. Use the back of a spoon and spread it evenly over the cookie like frosting. 2014-01-19 22.59.54

Allow the cookies cool and the “frosting” to harden. You will know when the chocolate frosting is not shiny anymore. 2014-01-19 23.08.03
Okay last step, taste test one or a few to make sure they are good.
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This is a huge recipe, I made almost 3 dozen, so I took some to a girls’ night party and brought vanilla ice cream to make some ice cream sandwiches. Yums! 2014-01-24 21.12.21

Wilton Course 2: Flower and Cake Design (Day 3 & 4)

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Week 3 of the Wilton Course 2 was pretty much more practice of making flowers, that week: bright sunny daffodils and delicate little violets – both great for the upcoming spring season!

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One the last class, we got to bring what we learned in the past few weeks all together. At home we designed and planned what cake design we wanted (well at least we were supposed to, I wasn’t a very good prepared student). We practiced and made more flowers at home and let them harden to bring to class. I decided to make a simple violet cake.

I over mixed my cake batter and it came out with a giant dome that I had to even out with a knife, unfortunately I realized I should really invest in a cake leveler. Thankfully most flaws were hidden by layers upon layers of icing! We started off learning to do a basket weave design to cover the cake up, it was surprisingly easy and creates a complex-looking design on the cake. The picture of the cake slice below will reveal the ridiculous amount of icing used.

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I started by adding the large violets in a bunch as the center piece of the cake. Then I started “sticking” the little violets to the sides as “randomly-even” as possible all around the cake.

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After making sure the flowers were where I wanted them to be, I piped little leaves and foliage to give it some color. Makes a big difference!

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This was a cake to look at not to eat, it definitely was a super-sweet cake and I sadly ended up tossing most of it. I know I still have a long way to go, but even practicing this takes real dedicated time, effort and lots of money buy supplies (and a lot of dish washing!)

Hawaiian Style Short Ribs

In my never ending quest to search for delicious, yet easy, yet meaty meals for my carnivorous boyfriend, Marta Steward came to the rescue with Hawaiian Style Short Ribs! These sweet spicy ribs are pretty awesome with some jasmine rice and a side of simply steamed veggies or salad.  2014-01-29 17.33.47

Gather up these ingredients:

 

  • 2 red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges, root ends left intact
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs (about 6), cut in 3 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or other chili sauce
  • 3 cups 1-inch-cubed pineapple (1 pound)

Start by places the colorful red onions, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of your slow cooker. In a bowl- whisk up the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili sauce. 

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Next tightly pack the beef short ribs over the onions, garlic, and ginger. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the meat evenly. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours until meat is nice and tender. 

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Add the drained pineapple and cook for 1 more hour. The pineapple provides a citrusy-sweet flavor and gets infused with the flavors of the sauce. 

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It’s hard to resist when the smell is wafting through the house during those 5 hours, but worth the wait. Maybe have a Mai Tai while you wait? 

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Carnivore boyfriend approved. 

Wilton Course 2: Flower and Cake Design (Day 2)

It’s amazing what you can do with 2 pounds of powdered sugar and some water! All these flowers requires a very stiff icing called royal icing. Thank goodness for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer because anything less powerful and the icing would have been too hard to mix. This is embarrassing but I woke up with a sore arm from mixing in the pink dye!

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It’s no where near perfect, but I’m finally starting to understand how to make the rose. Royal icing dries and hardens so quickly you can make these 2 weeks in advance and store them until you are ready to put them on your cake or cupcakes.

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My floppy primroses….no matter what I do I can’t seem to get them to look like the teacher’s! We practiced making yellow rosebuds, apple blossoms and primroses too!

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Neat advice from our teacher: store flowers in muffin tins to keep them safe and allow them to air dry.

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Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design (Day 1)

After a crazy past couple of months, I finally felt like I had enough free time to sign up for more Wilton cake classes at Michael’s! For just $20 I am taking a 2 hour class every Wednesday this month. The instructor was Gloria again, she’s really sweet and remembered me from my the first course I took. I was surprised to find out that the class was just me and one other student…$20 for a semi-private cake class yay! Though this time I was disappointed to find out that now Michael’s requires students to purchase their own course booklets (last time it was provided by the class).
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We wasted no time and jumped right into trying out gum paste and fondant. We mixed some fondant (looked like bars of play dough) and gum paste (lives up to the name) and tried out the Cut-n-Press Set. 2014-02-05 18.42.33It was fast and easy to make these adorable little button flowers- great for a kid’s birthday cake!

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I got to use lots of new tools from cake tool kit to make these pansies- really pretty and delicate! I did not get to take a lot of pictures in class, because my hands were stained by the pink fondant!

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It’s pretty amazing what some colored gum paste and fondant can become with the right tools! I can tell already this class is going to be a lot of work, but I’m really excited to learn more!